New York investigates claims that Verizon, TWC & Cablevision fail to deliver promised Internet speed

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2015
The New York attorney general's office is probing claims that three major Internet service providers -- Verizon, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable -- aren't living up to the speeds they advertise to subscribers.




Official letters were sent out to executives at the three companies on Friday, Reuters reported on Monday. Attorney general Eric Schneiderman confirmed the probe in a statement.

Verizon told Reuters it hadn't seen the letter, but the probe was acknowledged by spokesmen from TWC and Cablevision, who insisted their companies were meeting promises. Cablevision's Charlie Schueler in fact argued that his company's Optimum Online service "consistently surpasses" marketed speeds, beating them in internal tests and ones run by the Federal Communications Commission.

Schneiderman's office cited a 2014 M-Lab study, which found that connections tended to deteriorate at points where ISPs linked with so-called "long-haul" Internet carriers like Cogent. The probe is also based on public complaints and internal analysis, and will moreover scrutinize last-mile speeds at TWC and Cablevision.

American ISPs have regularly been accused of failing to match promised bandwidth, though connection quality can be limited by factors like location and existing infrastructure. The issue has become more serious in recent years, with growing dependence on the Internet for work, music, video, gaming, and government and financial services. Many productivity apps and games are now bought exclusively online, but can take hours or even days to download over a slow connection.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Not a surprise...
    Hope they all get fined big time!
  • Reply 2 of 48
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,141member

    Shocking.

     

    Any fines will result in a consumer fee. "The regulatory access fee is increasing because of government mandated changes." 

  • Reply 3 of 48

    The problem is that companies never "promise" any speeds. They say that a certain plan has speeds of UP TO 50 Mbps. No provider will guarantee that that number will be what you see 24/7.

  • Reply 4 of 48
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,017member
    Every survey and test has shown that Verizon FIOS does meet its promise. I can vouch for that in my own installation. I've got 150/150 FIOS. I always get between 145-165 down, and about the same up.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Anton Zuykov View Post

     

    The problem is that companies never "promise" any speeds. They say that a certain plan has speeds of UP TO 50 Mbps. No provider will guarantee that that number will be what you see 24/7.




    So true. When the technician comes to install your cable they often test it using Speed Test to demonstrate that you are getting close to the advertised speed. Problem is, the speed is being tested with one big chunk of data from your computer to the cable data center then to another nearby peering data center, therefore bypassing multiple hops and staying on fiber the entire time. In the real world when you visit some random web page, the code is referencing sometimes a few different servers and is composed of many elements such as stylesheets, Javascript, images, text, fonts, etc. Each of those elements has to be requested individually so there is a lot of back and forth packets required just to render a single page. Then of course there is the matter of the router hops and DNS resolution. 

     

    Speed Test is the equivalent of Volkswagen's diesel emissions testing.

  • Reply 6 of 48
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,326member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Speed Test is the equivalent of Volkswagen's diesel emissions testing.


    Yep.   My vendor is worse.   They use their own testing tool which goes right to their office.   Speed looks great.   Then in real-life use, it really sucks.   And even though they claim not to throttle, when I watch streaming movies, they're fine for the first hour and then they start to gag.   There's no way to tell for sure whether the problem is at the streaming service or my ISP, but it sure seems like it's the ISP.

     

    Unfortunately, NY is not investigating my ISP.

     

    One of the reasons I don't increase my speed with the ISP is because in real-world use, I'm not sure it's going to make any difference anyway.

  • Reply 7 of 48
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

     

    And even though they claim not to throttle, when I watch streaming movies, they're fine for the first hour and then they start to gag.   There's no way to tell for sure whether the problem is at the streaming service or my ISP, but it sure seems like it's the ISP.


    I get the same thing. I'm convinced it is the cable company because they are pissed that you are getting your content form someone else instead of from them. That might become increasingly problematic as they transition into a dumb pipe with people getting their content from other streaming services and I'm not sure you as a consumer could ever prove they are throttling it because they can limit the throttling to only certain types of data such as movies..

  • Reply 8 of 48
    mstone wrote: »

    So true. When the technician comes to install your cable they often test it using Speed Test to demonstrate that you are getting close to the advertised speed. Problem is, the speed is being tested with one big chunk of data from your computer to the cable data center then to another nearby peering data center, therefore bypassing multiple hops and staying on fiber the entire time. In the real world when you visit some random web page, the code is referencing sometimes a few different servers and is composed of many elements such as stylesheets, Javascript, images, text, fonts, etc. Each of those elements has to be requested individually so there is a lot of back and forth packets required just to render a single page. Then of course there is the matter of the router hops and DNS resolution. 

    Speed Test is the equivalent of Volkswagen's diesel emissions testing.
  • Reply 9 of 48
    I don't understand your comments vis-a-vis speedtest. You seem to have a pretty good idea of all the factors that affect actual performance when browsing a web page, i.e. multiple resource fetches, handoffs to other servers/network segments, server latency, etc. As you know, other than streaming situations, this has much more impact on perceived performance than the speed of the last mile connection, which is all that Verizon is selling me when they quote an X Mbps connection. Speed test does a good job of confirming that the connection speed I purchased is approximately what I'm getting. why would you compare it to a totally fraudulent test such as VW's emissions test.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,017member
    marktime wrote: »
    I don't understand your comments vis-a-vis speedtest. You seem to have a pretty good idea of all the factors that affect actual performance when browsing a web page, i.e. multiple resource fetches, handoffs to other servers/network segments, server latency, etc. As you know, other than streaming situations, this has much more impact on perceived performance than the speed of the last mile connection, which is all that Verizon is selling me when they quote an X Mbps connection. Speed test does a good job of confirming that the connection speed I purchased is approximately what I'm getting. why would you compare it to a totally fraudulent test such as VW's emissions test.

    Some people just like dissing things. ISPs are easy targets for people, rightly, or wrongly. If speedtest shows a good speed, it must be wrong, and the company is in cahoots with the ISPs.
  • Reply 11 of 48
    "Many productivity apps and games are now bought exclusively online, but can take hours or even days to download over a slow connection."

    Sounds like dile-up and not broadband to me ????
  • Reply 12 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Problem is, the speed is being tested with one big chunk of data from your computer to the cable data center then to another nearby peering data center, therefore bypassing multiple hops and staying on fiber the entire time


     Because they are testing your internet connection, not a connection with every single possible webpage on the Internet. That is why they are using those fast certified data centers, otherwise, your internet speed will not be a bottleneck and they will be measuring some other bottleneck connection speed.



    Also, on the smaller vs larger chunks of data transfer speeds - smaller chunks always take longer to transfer because they can incur bigger overhead and hence - longer transfer times.

  • Reply 13 of 48
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Anton Zuykov View Post

     

    The problem is that companies never "promise" any speeds. They say that a certain plan has speeds of UP TO 50 Mbps. No provider will guarantee that that number will be what you see 24/7.


    True, but when you only see that speed for 24 minutes every 7 years?

    That might go a bit beyond "puffery".

  • Reply 14 of 48
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post





    Some people just like dissing things. ISPs are easy targets for people, rightly, or wrongly. If speedtest shows a good speed, it must be wrong, and the company is in cahoots with the ISPs.



    No I'm just saying that testing in an ideal setting is not representative of the conditions in the real world which, in the case of network speed, numbers mean nothing if the consumer perceives that their internet is slow. The ISPs are deceiving the consumer in thinking that faster is going to be better when in most cases 10 mbps will deliver about the same real world experience as 300 mbps but they would rather up sell you to 300. Of course the final throughput speed is not the responsibility of the last mile provider if the upstream data is bottlenecked. The average consumer has no idea why they are not experiencing the blistering high speeds as advertised by the ISP.

  • Reply 15 of 48
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,017member
    mstone wrote: »

    No I'm just saying that testing in an ideal setting is not representative of the conditions in the real world which, in the case of network speed, numbers mean nothing if the consumer perceives that their internet is slow. The ISPs are deceiving the consumer in thinking that faster is going to be better when in most cases 10 mbps will deliver about the same real world experience as 300 mbps but they would rather up sell you to 300. Of course the final throughput speed is not the responsibility of the last mile provider if the upstream data is bottlenecked. The average consumer has no idea why they are not experiencing the blistering high speeds as advertised by the ISP.

    If your speed is high enough, and you feel it's slow, then either you're just getting used to the speed, and it doesn't seem fast anymore, or the sites you go to are actually slow, and that often happens. But Speedtest is accurate. I often download at full speed, that is, my Apple updates download at 18.5MBs. That's the full speed of my 150/150 service. So you can use the full speed of the site you go to is equipped for it, and not all are.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    It is true that there's not much point in getting speeds over 25 Mbps. That's more than enough capacity for two simultaneous video streams. I only got 50 Mbps service because my bundle was cheaper at 50 than at 25 (go figure). One could legitimately argue that the sales pitch for faster internet connections is misleading since, in the real world, it won't make a difference due to all the other bottlenecks (including your home router). But then make that argument, don't knock speed test for what it does which is to confirm that at least my ISP connection is working properly. Speed test happens to be one of my "go to" diagnostics when I'm trying to figure out where my problem lies - is it one of my wireless routers, is it Verizon, or is it the cloud-based service I'm trying to access.

    I do think that the ISPs are setting themselves up for a fail with their pitches for buying ever faster internet connections. Between iPhones, routers, notebooks, media servers etc, I probably have over 30 network connected devices. Verizon, hearing that, would try to convince me I need way more than a 25 Mbps pipe.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    melgross wrote: »
    Every survey and test has shown that Verizon FIOS does meet its promise. I can vouch for that in my own installation. I've got 150/150 FIOS. I always get between 145-165 down, and about the same up.

    Only about 20% of the people in Verizon's footprint have, or can get FiOS. The rest have to rely on DSL/HSI. I'm guessing the 80% is whom the NY AG is concerned about.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,017member
    marktime wrote: »
    It is true that there's not much point in getting speeds over 25 Mbps. That's more than enough capacity for two simultaneous video streams. I only got 50 Mbps service because my bundle was cheaper at 50 than at 25 (go figure). One could legitimately argue that the sales pitch for faster internet connections is misleading since, in the real world, it won't make a difference due to all the other bottlenecks (including your home router). But then make that argument, don't knock speed test for what it does which is to confirm that at least my ISP connection is working properly. Speed test happens to be one of my "go to" diagnostics when I'm trying to figure out where my problem lies - is it one of my wireless routers, is it Verizon, or is it the cloud-based service I'm trying to access.

    I do think that the ISPs are setting themselves up for a fail with their pitches for buying ever faster internet connections. Between iPhones, routers, notebooks, media servers etc, I probably have over 30 network connected devices. Verizon, hearing that, would try to convince me I need way more than a 25 Mbps pipe.

    That's incorrect. If a simplistic evaluation is to just think about movie download streaming speed, them sure. But the internet is used for far more than that. Most people buy software over the Internet these days, and large apps can take time. OS X upgrades are often 5-7GB. My FIOS does 5GB in about 3.5 minutes. At 150/150. If your using a service at 15/15, then it will take 35 minutes. That's a pretty big difference. Even at 25 it will take 20 minutes for that 5GB. If several people are on at once, and we have three people here, then it will take longer, and streaming will be impossible.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,017member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Only about 20% of the people in Verizon's footprint have, or can get FiOS. The rest have to rely on DSL/HSI. I'm guessing the 80% is whom the NY AG is concerned about.

    I read that it was 40% around the country. But, right now, Verizon has stated that they aren't going to expand the range.

    In NYC, Verizon has a deal stating that the entire city has to be wired. It's almost done, behind schedule. The storm, Sandy, delayed matters.

    But FIOS isn't the issue, it's their DSL service that is.

    This is from an article about this on Arstechnica today:

    The FCC's Measuring Broadband America report last year found that Verizon DSL offers 83 percent of its advertised speed during peak usage periods, below the 91 percent average for DSL-based services. DSL speeds vary widely, with homes further away from ISP infrastructure getting lower speeds due to distance limitations.

    Verizon's fiber customers, on the other hand, generally receive higher speeds than they pay for, as do Cablevision customers, the FCC said. TWC customers received between 94 percent and 101 percent of advertised download speeds during peak times, according to the FCC data.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    marktime wrote: »
    It is true that there's not much point in getting speeds over 25 Mbps.
    Good thing that neither Apple nor anyone else sells large software packages or OS updates as a download!
Sign In or Register to comment.